CBN: Lawmakers Push Back on Biden Admin’s Proposal to Impose Abortion Mandate on EmployersOctober 20, 2023
By Talia Wise, CBN
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are rebuking the Biden administration for proposing an abortion mandate on employers as part of a bipartisan law that ensures workplaces provide critical accommodations for pregnant and working mothers.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was signed into law by President Biden in December of 2022 and ensures that employers with more than 15 employees make “reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” of an employee.
The law is intended to help female workers maintain their employment while supporting their health and the health of their babies during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as after involuntary loss through miscarriage and stillbirth.
But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) attempted to impose an abortion mandate on employers through the PWFA claiming that “abortion is included in the definition of ‘pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition.'”
If finalized, the EEOC’s proposed rule would mandate that employers provide a “reasonable accommodation” for abortion.
“Such accommodations could include the use of paid leave, unpaid leave, or transfer to a position in another state, to seek an abortion at any stage in pregnancy up until birth, even for employers in States that prohibit most abortions. Employers could also be required to provide women seeking abortions with access to employer-provided transportation,” reads the letters signed by 61 Members of Congress.
The letter written by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) was submitted as part of the mandatory 60-day comment period that allows members of the public to weigh in on proposed rules before they are finalized and implemented.
“The PWFA does not include abortion. In fact, abortion is antithetical to the Act’s purpose because it is intentionally anti-pregnancy and anti-childbirth. Abortion is not health care. It ends the lives of unborn children through suction, dismemberment, or chemical poisoning, and it can lead to significant physical complications and mental health risks for women,” the lawmakers said in their letter.
“We urge you to remove abortion mandates from the scope of this rule, protect employers with religious and moral objections, and finalize a rule that accurately reflects the Congressional mandate to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth, not abortion,” they concluded.
CBN News reached out to the EEOC for comment.
The EEOC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was approved by a bipartisan vote on Aug. 1, 2023. The NPRM was published on Aug. 11, 2023, and was open for public comment until Oct. 10, 2023,” an EEOC spokesperson told CBN News.
The spokesperson said the EEOC received numerous comments at the time including the letter submitted by Lankford and Smith.
The EEOC also received comments from other members of Congress and stakeholders, which are available for public view on regulations.gov,” they added. “The EEOC is reviewing the comments it received during the public comment period as it develops the final rule, and will consider all comments received.”
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